Tuesday, June 29, 2010

They look like us but they're not like us

*pictures from today's school holiday visit to Scienceworks and not in any way related to wordage.

This is the back-story, the part that I knew had happened. Some time last year, Climber and The Gifted Child apparently laughed at a classmate, not, Climber asserts, in a malicious way, more because the kid had inadvertently amused them; probably by making a mistake. The laughed-at child got very, very angry at them, some would say unreasonably so, and responded by threatening to go online that evening and delete Climber's Club Penguin account. The prospect of this made Climber almost hysterical with anxiety because he'd invested time and efforts into Club Penguin and had virtual pets and assets and points and achievements etc. I still remember how freaked out he was by that child's threat and it took a lot to calm him.

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The laughed-at child has been spoiled. His parents' pictures appear in the dictionary next to the phrase Helicopter Parents. They are over-protective, and molly-coddlers, and spoil-the-kid-rotten types. Whatever that child wants, he gets. Whatever that child doesn't want to do, he doesn't have to. I mean, the kid had no choice but to turn out a pain, and of course, that's what he is. I've always avoided the family in the schoolyard where possible. But I saw them more as vaguely ridiculous than as a force of evil.

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However. This is the part of the story I just found out, as Climber and I were mooching round together on Sunday while Cherub was off partying with the 7-year-old set. Some little time after the laughed-at child had presumably gone home and told his parents that Climber had been 'mean' to him, it just so happened that Climber got invited by another friend to go to an interactive exhibition at Australian Centre for the Moving Image. And whilst at that exhibition, they ran into the laughed-at child and his father. And that bloody father, seeing that Climber was on his own, without parents, and indeed without at that moment his friend, who had gone to the toilet, took that opportunity to cross the room and say to my then 8-year-old if you are being mean to my son you'd better watch out. And then he walked off. Thereby putting the fear of god into poor Climber. So much so that Climber couldn't even speak about it, probably under some misguided feelings of shame and fear. He bottled that incident for a long time. I think he was quite relieved when he told me, and that my reaction was enormous and furious anger at the bullying father.

Both Fixit and I are very, very angry about this. If that pathetic excuse for a father wanted to sort out his son's schoolroom problems on a parental level, then he should have approached Fixit or me, ie, someone his own size. To approach and threaten an 8 year old child is just appalling behaviour in my book. It makes me want to threaten to set Fixit onto him, just to watch his cowardly face turn pale. Or have a shouty schoolyard confrontation with him in front of as many parents as possible so I can embarrass him on a big scale. Of course, those things always go much better in your head as you rehearse what you would say to the bullying toad at yourself in the mirror or mutter it in the hallway on the way to bed. But it is just possible that this is a confrontation I would win because I have righteous parental anger on my side, despite my usual bad form at confronting people. I guess we will only see when school goes back and I come face to face with the worm in the schoolyard. I have 2 weeks to work out what I should do (advice is welcomed). I will, of course, inform our teacher about it once school goes back, not that I really think the school can do anything about it, but they ought to know.

Meantime, big bad thoughts in his general direction. Low-down evil cowardly bullying stupid scumdog. And that's the polite version.

34 comments:

  1. Wow, what a horrible thing to do. That is an adult form of bullying.

    When school goes back I'd pop in and chat to the principal about what happened. Say that you understand that Climber had laughed at the classmate, but that you are keen to know that school-related problems stay at school. Mention how traumatised your kiddo was.

    An approach from the principal might take the wind out of Adult Bully's sails.

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  2. That is totally unacceptable behaviour on that father's part.

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  3. That is just bullying.....nasty nasty man.

    speak to the teacher and the principal.

    hugs to you all.

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  4. Our school has parental behaviour policies in place to stop this kind of thing happening.I say talk to someone in charge-that parent has no right to threaten a child !

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  5. First of all, that man is a dick.

    That being said - it is important for our children to meet and deal with people like this (there'll never be a world where they don't exist.) Learning how to be social while you are young also involves knowing how to react to the unreasonable. Climber is watching and learning. He's watching you, he watching that man, he's watching and synthesising all of this information into thoughts and values that will colour him as an adult.

    No matter what he should know you've got his back. You're his champion. Without a doubt he knows that. He also needs to know that once your initital anger reaction abates there is a course of action to deal with those who are inappropriate.

    You will know the right thing to do. I have absolute faith that your own values will allow dignity to all parties while still making your point VERY clear.

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  6. This is bloody shocking! This man needs a good talking to... absolutely get the principal involved.

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  7. This makes me tense with livid rage, so I can only imagine what it is like for you. I hope you changed Climber's account password to reassure him no one could ever delete it? (Not that I know what Club Penguin is, or if it has passwords, or if they're too hard to type in with flippers.)

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  8. That's appalling. Absolutely appalling.

    I too would be fantasising about a big shouty scene in the playground, but as that wise woman Tracey said, you will know the right way to go about it.

    Good luck, and try and put it aside for the rest of the holidays and enjoy them without that hanging over your heads.

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  9. If it were me, I'd get Fixit to ring him and say something like "Don't even approach my child again without my presence you bullying prick". Or perhaps just ro-sham-bo him in the carpark. He won't see that coming. THE CHEEK of that fool!

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  10. Bastard! Bastard! Bastard! I can be there in 24 hours and will happily hold him down while you smack him about the head and shoulders. Poor old Climber and he has been carrying this threat around for so long. That bit makes me even more cross.

    Definitely speak with staff at school but feel free to tell said dad you are now aware of his behaviour, have registered it with the school and if he dares threaten your child in such a manner again you will be involving the police. Then just walk away from him. Waste no time on his excuses or rationales, just execute a neat little heel turn and leaving him gaping after you.

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  11. What a pity you're in Melbourne, I've a friend who'd egg him for you. He'd have no idea, just eggs in face! I HATE bullies, hate them.

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  12. I cannot believe he did that. I would also be entertaining playground confrontations, though restraint is probably the best if far less satisfying. Unfortunately.

    I'm glad that Climber was able to talk to you about it eventually though, because holding that in would be awful.

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  13. Blood boiling, steam seething from nostrils and whatnot...

    There is no doubt that action should be taken. Dignified, pointed, clear communication via the school principal. Action that Climber knows about so it's clear who was in the wrong and that it patently wasn't he.

    GRRRRRRR.

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  14. OMG. I would be ... I don't even ... WHAT THE HELL?! Who does that to a kid?!

    I'm afraid all of my suggestions for payback would be as illegal there as they are here. But I'll be thinking them. Oh yes.

    (Ha! My word verification is flogyne.)

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  15. I like trash's idea.

    And WHO DOES THAT??? Poor, poor C, to keep this all inside.

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  16. I second trash's idea. The class teacher and the principal absolutely need to be informed because they need to be aware of threatening behaviour by a parent ESPECIALLY when it's directed at a child. There will be Dep of Education policies about this, you can be sure (feel free to look at their website if you feel unsure about what the school can or should do in these circumstances).

    I also think it reasonable to calmly tell that parent basically what trash said. Do it in the playground, in public, and just walk away once you're done saying want you need to say. If it's you and Fixit there, so much the better. That way you stay firmly on the moral high ground.

    Good luck and sympathies - it's so crappy when you're child has been bullied.

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  17. Well you obviously have to do something. I guess the two week cooling off period is good in a way! I'd take this one to the principal and get the father in with the kid, he's not someone you want to confront on your own and a mediator/witness would be good. The man crossed the line. Good luck! Ramona

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  18. Jesus. What the hey is WRONG with people? How would anyone ever think that that was an appropriate and ok thing to do?

    I third Trash's idea. I LOVE the moral high ground. I mean, totally fantasise about destroying him, but if you let him know that YOU have taken 'the proper action' then maybe he'll be scared about looking bad socially - which for some people is almost as bad as being scared of having their teeth bashed in. You know, if he thinks that all the parents will know that he and his kid are snivelling little sneaks... good incentive to grow up.

    Good luck!

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  19. Just thinking about how frightening the whole experience was for poor Climber upsets me so much! I KNOW it is so much worse for you.

    Good thing you have two weeks to sort it out before you see him. If not Fixit might be bailing you out of jail!

    I might request a meeting with him and the principal. That way he has no chance to be nasty to YOU too, and the principal is aware that you are the one handling the situation appropriately. It should be made clear that while you understand his child was upset, making harmful threats in return (by both the parent and the child) made it so much worse! Climber's apology should have been enough to right the situation.

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  20. Bloody hell. What is the world coming to? What an absolute bastard. If that was my husband I would be very ashamed...

    I think Tracey is a very wise woman and her advise is worth considering.

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  21. I can see that a bitter little apple has not fallen far at all from his malicious paternal tree..

    Poor Climber - hate that he was carrying that around with him..

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  22. Wow, unbelievable. Poor kid. Kids are mean enough, let alone the parents. So sorry for you to have to deal with such a horrible situation. Definately tell the school - Climber might not be the only child that Bully Dad has threatened. Make sure you keep us posted. Siobhan/Shivi1

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  23. Oh my god, I wouldn't change a thing Tracey said!

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  24. Just pretend i'm Tracey.

    her advice x10

    xx

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  25. These dreadful parents, you can be sure, would have already seen the principal and teacher about Climber and friends reaction to their son when the first incident
    actually occured. And I would guess they were hosed down for over-reacting and are not happy.
    I would have a quiet word with the teacher about this incident, and put something in writing to the Principal, to be kept on file. If there is another incident I would not hesitate to get a lawyer friend to write a polite and firm letter to the creep, explaining that you are on to him and his bullying, big time. Good luck dear Stomper, my blood pressure would be sky high.

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  26. Gawd, I never even thought that they might have complained about the original incident. Could work in my favour.

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  27. Agree with trash, but also sending appropriately big bad thoughts in his general direction. Pig.

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  28. How did I miss this post?! Ooooh, boiling blood. Well, all Fixit would have to do is stand VERY close and puff out his chest and accompany that with a menacing look, and he in his manly splendor would make that snivelly sorry excuse for a parent shrivel up right quick. Oooooh. And good on you, that the righteous parental anger, i.e. MAMA BEAR, comes out and overcomes our own discomfort with confrontation. Go YOU!

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  29. I said 'our' own discomfort -- I have that same issue of having a terrible time with the prospect of confrontation. But when some behavior is harmful or potentially harmful to our children, look out! And thank God for that! (=Root cause of no man in my life currently!)

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  30. That guy ... way out of line! I would be pissed! Your poor kid. The experience must have been terrifying.

    No idea how to deal with this one, but you've gotten some excellent comments, thank goodness.

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  31. You know, many hours after reading this, I'm still boiling on your behalf. I can't imagine how you felt or feel.

    I can't imagine approaching an isolated child like that, particularly to do or say something nasty. If there's a concern, it needs to be taken up with the parents. Period.

    What a horrid, miserable excuse for a human being.

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  32. I just wrote this whole comment about what I'd do and then realised my current state of mine is not the best for doing so.

    I think you've done the right thing in terms of telling the school.

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  33. I think my head would explode with thinking about all the things I would like to say to that man.

    Unbelievable.

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Don't let the cat get your tongue.